Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Staying Close to the Herd

In case you are just joining in, Toby is my 28 year old horse who has lost a considerable amount of his hearing. He was my first horse, so I'm really partial to him, at least most of the time. He is as cantankerous as a mule quite a bit of the time, and some days I think about the possibility of equine euthanasia. I don't think about it for long, but it definitely crosses my mind, especially when he repeatedly kicks the barn door to make me hurry with his feed.

Toby's hearing is terrible, but as long as he stays with the other horses, he's fine. They hear for him. When they head to the barn, he goes, too. The problem is that Toby has developed a tendency to wander away from the other horses, rambling through the hills and pastures, nibbling grass as he goes.  When he goes off on his own, he can't hear me call him, and I have to track him down like a hound dog, searching through the pastures for him.

There is a simple solution that would allow Toby to enjoy all the human interaction he loves, all the on-time meals he prefers, all the coat-brushing he needs. Stay close to the herd. Staying close to the herd is all that is needed, but, for some reason, he doesn't want to do that. He wants to go his own way.

I've been like that before, haven't you? I've wandered from my herd (the body of Christ) and gone my own way, but it never worked out like I planned. Wandering and nibbling as I went never brought the fun or freedom I expected, but it certainly brought more grief and regret than I ever imagined. Perhaps you've experienced this for yourself. Maybe you're doing a little wandering of your own now.

Just as Toby is safer in his herd, even when he and the other horses disagree (to put it mildly), we are, too.  The body of Christ was never meant to be a solo act. It was intended to be a kind of teamwork, where we all have our function, we are all indispensable, and all interdependent. Each one of us is critical to the whole and each one has a vital part to play. When the body of Christ works the way He intended, it's the best place to be. It can't work, though, if we don't fill our position and do our part.

How well are you doing your part in the body of Christ? How close are you to those where Christ has placed you? If you are not enjoying the consolations of the Christian walk, maybe what you need is to "stay close to your herd." Take your place. Do your part.

"But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired..." (1 Corinthians 12:18 NASB)